Embedded questions can be confusing at first, but really only need clarifying and habit. I am going to help you…specifically by using the same question that you used! 😉
«Can you explain me please what is an embedded question?»
YES…you have used an embedded question. Is this one correct? Unfortunately, NO. ;-( But it does serve as a perfect example of the common English mistake made with these type of questions.
In English, the question form and sentence form usually change order.
- Question: What is an embedded question?
- Sentence: An embedded question is a question that is inside another question or statement.
*Notice how ‘is’ changes places. It appears before the subject (embedded) in the question, and after the subject in the sentence. (En español el orden no cambia en una pregunta).
Examples of ways of asking questions or statements that indicate an embedded question:
Can you explain …?
Do you know…?
I don’t know …
I’m not sure …
When you combine these additional questions/phrases with a normal question the location of the auxiliary verb is the same as in a normal sentence!
Can you explain what an embedded question is?
Do you know what an embedded question is?
I don’t know what an embedded question is.
I’m not sure what an embedded question is.
The confusion people have with embedded questions is because as soon as you use a question word like ‘what’ ‘how’ ‘when’ ‘where’, etc, you have the habit to use the same order as in the normal question is…but BE CAREFUL!
Other examples with BE:
- Question: Where is he?
- Sentence: He is at the office.
- Embedded Question: Do you know where he is
Can you tell me when the start is (NOT: Can you tell me when is the start?)
I would like to know what the answer is. (NOT: I would like to know what is the answer.)
I wonder where he is (NOT: I wonder where is he.)
I wonder where he went. (NOT: I wonder where went he.)
Do you know how long the film is? (NOT: Do you know how long is the film?
Questions with Do are slightly different.
- Question: What time does he usually arrive?
- Sentence: He usually arrives at 9:00.
- Embedded question: Can you tell me what time he usually arrives? (NOT: Can you tell me what time does he arrive?)
Thank you Maria Carmen for your question!
If you found this hard to undertand, you might want to keep studying English with our free video here.
Si esta lección de inglés te ha parecido díficil, puedes ver nuestro video gratuito here y seguir aprendiendo inglés.